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How a Landlocked Aquarium Gets Its Seawater

Chicago is 800 miles from the nearest ocean, so when the world’s largest salt water aquarium opened there in 1930, its director decided that the ocean must come to Chicago. The Shedd Aquarium sent a series of railway tank cars down to Key West, Florida. There, they siphoned up a million gallons of ocean water for Chicago’s “magnificent marble home for fish.” Visitors in the 1930s were greeted by seahorses, sawfish, baby sharks, and a 585-pound manatee.

Today, the Shedd Aquarium uses a salt blend called Instant Ocean. It is mostly sodium chloride, the same stuff that makes up table salt. It also contains smaller amounts of other chemicals such as sulfate, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

Aquariums that can pipe saltwater directly from the ocean do, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, in California, is the prime example. Monterey is in a fantastic location. The bay is ringed by protected marine areas, so its water is exceptionally clean. At the back of the aquarium are intake pipes that supply all the building’s saltwater tanks. “We’re literally physically connected to the bay,” says Kasie Regnier, the director of applied research at Monterey Bay Aquarium. The pipes can bring in almost 2,000 gallons of water a minute.

Possible Preaching Angles:

Christians also need a constant supply of “living water” to maintain our spiritual health. Though far from home, we are literally connected through the life-giving ministry of the Holy Spirit who applies the living Word to our lives.


Sarah Zhang, “How a Landlocked Aquarium Gets Its Seawater,” The Atlantic (11-8-18)

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